PARIS – France claims great success in increasing the proportion of women in the military. What it hasn't done is work to prevent sexual assault once they get there.
That is about to change.
The French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Tuesday announced the country's first plan to address the problem and inflict harsher punishments on those found guilty.
It involves reforms as basic as including sexual and moral harassment in the military code, creating a statistical database, and improving the barracks situation. Women make up 15 percent of French uniformed military personnel — about the same as the U.S. and among the highest rates in the world.
Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also announced that three women would join a nuclear submarine crew by 2017 — another first for France.